United Airlines to buy 15 Boom Supersonic Overture aircraft
United Airlines has agreed to purchase 15 of Boom Supersonic’s Overture aircraft, subject to them meeting safety and sustainability standards. The agreement also includes an option for 35 additional aircraft.
Unlike other competitors in the supersonic space, Boom’s model targets commercial passenger flights to begin with. It aims to have the aircraft flying in 2029.
Aviation commentator, Sally Gethin, told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme: “The public has always had a fascination for supersonic and it keeps reappearing on the agenda. However, all the hazards of the Concorde still have to be overcome.”
One of these challenges is sonic boom, which Boom Supersonic is hoping to solve by flying supersonic over water – such as on transatlantic or transpacific routes – and subsonic over land. Aerion Supersonic, which recently closed operations, was aiming for “boomless flight” altogether.
Gethin also added that Overture would not have “after burners” and would fly more efficiently than other models – using sustainable aviation fuel. “This would be a first for an airliner to be based completely on this kind of fuel,” added Gethin.
While specific financial details haven’t been disclosed, estimates suggest current business class fares for the service. “There would definitely be a hike in prices. This is for the premium passenger,” added Gethin.
Boom’s Overture is aiming to transport 65-88 passengers from Tokyo to Seattle in approximately four-and-a-half hours, or from Los Angeles to Sydney in eight-and-a-half-hours.
United’s head of corporate development, Mike Leskinen, told The Air Current in an interview that the transaction was not a firm order, but it involved United taking the lead on “a real aircraft” project.
An industry insider told Revolution.Aero this was a smarter route than competitors, since it was targetting the commercial segment – a much bigger addressable market than business aviation.
Earlier this year, United invested in eVTOL developer Archer Aviation, announcing plans to buy 200 eVTOL aircraft worth $1bn. The carrier has the option to buy another $500m worth of aircraft in the future.